I have to admit, when Starz announced it was doing a series called Camelot, I had mixed feelings.

Having studied the King Arthur legend extensively in high school and in college, I was hoping it was going to be a faithful adaption of many of the books based upon the legend.

On the other hand, I was concerned that Camelot would end up being a duplicate of Starz’s Spartacus series, using a familiar story basically as an excuse for lots of sex and bloody violence.

So far, through three episodes, it seems to be more of the former than the latter.

Camelot has an historical feel to it, though the sorcery and myth of the Arthurian legend is prevalent. Merlin (Joseph Fiennes) is shown to be more scholar than sorcerer early on, but he is shown to have power when he wants to use it. Problem is, magic can be addictive and dangerous, so Merlin is reluctant to use.

That’s not the case with Morgan le Fay (Eva Green), who uses it all to often, first to assassinate her father King Uther, then to raise an army after Merlin finds Uther’s long-lost son Arthur (Jamie Campbell Bower) and installs him as king.

Meanwhile, Arthur, a teenager, must build a kingdom with few resources and many enemies. It doesn’t help that Arthur’s attention is diverted by the beautiful Guinevere (Tamsin Egerton), who is betrothed to one of Arthur’s few loyal knights.

Created by Chris Chibnall (Torchwood) and Michael Hirst (Elizabeth, The Tudors), Camelot does have its share of sex and violence, though not on the ridiculous levels of Spartacus.

While the series takes quite a few liberties with the legend, “Camelot” stays faithful in spirit to the tales, with a few clever twists thrown in. The new take on the sword in the stone tale was particularly clever and inspired.

Camelot has the potential to be a fun series and is worth a look to anyone who enjoys swords-and-sandals adventures.

3 Purple Pencils

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